Saturday, December 31, 2011

An Irish Friendship Wish

May there always be work for your hands to do;
May your purse always hold a coin or two;
May the sun always shine on your windowpane;
May a rainbow be certain to follow each rain;
May the hand of a friend always be near you;
May God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you.


Friday, December 2, 2011

The perfect personality

A wholesome,pleasing personality is a powerful asset.One who owns it will be way ahead of others in any field.We all know this but somehow we fall short of reaching the stage where all who meet us will be forced to say"Oh,what a pleasing personality s/he has."So how to go about achieving that acme of perfection?Just think,who attracted you most with his/her personality?Perhaps we all have the image of one such person in our minds,who impressed us tremendously.Let's try to recapitulate the attributes which made him/her so charming.Many words come rushing to my mind as i think over this topic.Let us take them one by one.
It is a person's face that we look at first of all.A cheerful,smiling,tension-free,friendly & neat & clean face--aren't we all attracted to it?No shifty looks or stern expressions.External cleanliness is easy to achieve,but that happy,serene countenance comes only from a positive frame of mind & a genuine interest in & liking for other people.
The next thing which we all notice is,how a person greets us.Is he welcoming & eager to meet,or does he try to slink away?A warm,confident,spontaneous greeting is a sure winner.
What about a person's physical features & physique?I have seen that a person's looks & complexion recede to the background if the person is otherwise appealing.But body structure does matter.A well-proportioned body indicates that the person leads a healthy,well-balanced life-neither a hog nor a slob.
How a person dresses says a lot about his taste & intelligence.Clean,well-fitting,well-ironed,trendy clothes of harmonious colors,which are according to the weather & occasion are an essential component of a good personality today.Needless to say,offensive body odors are a big No No.
Now about a special feature of personality which often gives away many secrets-our body language.No matter how hard we try to hide our emotions,our body language reveals what is inside.The way we walk,talk & hold ourselves shows how high we are on self esteem.Not only that,it also reveals how much importance we give to the person in front of us.If we are restless & fidget while talking to someone,it is a sure indication that we want to escape at the first opportunity.Shifty eyes proclaim that we have something to hide.On the other hand, when we give undivided attention to our companion or acquaintance, we take a huge stride in the direction of achieving a pleasant personality.
These are an integral part of our personality.How we all like to listen to an individual who talks at a medium pitch in well modulated tones.Those who shout in our ears are as irritating as those who mumble inaudibly.And what about the art of conversation?Perhaps we all know someone who will monopolize the conversation, no matter how many yawns his audience are trying to stifle.At the other end of the spectrum is the guy who just won't open his mouth.However, a good conversationalist will include everyone in his chit-chat & encourage all to participate.He can even draw out the guy with the zipped mouth.People like to listen to him because he knows what he talks about.And when others talk,he listens to them with rapt attention.They find it easy to connect with him because they feel acknowledged & appreciated.
How can we forget etiquette when we talk of the perfect personality?A well-bred person is a pleasure to associate with.He is polite,courteous,amicable & considerate.He is always mindful of the comfort & well-being of others & careful not to hurt their feelings.He can easily assuage a gawky newcomer in any setting-be it social or official.His manners are impeccable.A respect for age,relation & authority marks his behavior.

Our personality is the sum-total of our physical,emotional & behavioral characteristics.Our attitudes,prejudices & our character show through our behavior.All negative emotions like hate,jealousy,sarcasm,rivalry,fear & anger detract from our personality.An individual who thinks he is far more superior than the rest of humanity, is as far from a perfect personality as one who has no self esteem.An over-officious character is as jarring as a callous & heartless one.A good personality requires a fine blend of agreeable qualities which come from the heart.It has to be genuine.No matter how careful we are in projecting a positive image for the world to see,what is inside will shine through & tell the truth.This is the biggest obstacle in acquiring a perfect personality.It has to start from the inside.Most of us being an amalgam of strengths & weaknesses,positive traits & negative ones;we fall short of it.

I am sure this description of a perfect personality is not exhaustive.There must be quite a few facets which you, dear readers, consider essential.It would be interesting to know your views on the topic.What goes to make a pleasing,perfect personality ?Please share your thoughts.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

History repeats it self

I guess we all have numerous complaints against as many agencies.Quite natural !Our expectations are not met fully or promptly & this leaves us disgruntled.So we all have grouses-right?And they relate to various services which are inefficient or insufficient.But some of us have only one single complaint in life.Guess what-are they more organised & better adjusted than us ?I am afraid not ! Quite the opposite!It is more probable that they have severe adjustment problems.You could hear them saying"This always happens to me" or "Bad luck follows me like a shadow"or "This world is so cruel"or"People are very selfish"or"Everybody is jealous of me","Nobody appreciates me",so on & so forth.Mostly it is one refrain which colors their grievances.It is them against the whole world.No wonder, with the burden of such thoughts on their minds;they find the world a rotten place & want to quit.

One is forced to wonder whether they have really  been singled out for such persecution? Is it the truth or a delusion ?Since i don't have first hand knowledge of their lives apart from what they have told me,i would rather not pass any judgement.But this question does need to be answered . Therefore i decided to begin with my own experiences & turned the eye inwards.Did i have any such grouse which had been bothering me for ever?

I was pretty surprised by the answer-yes i did !I was unhappy because people did not befriend me--despite my best efforts & initiatives.What could be the reason ?Do i have a stern countenance ?Perhaps.Am i selfish?No,never.Do i manipulate or humiliate others or make fun of them?Not at all ! I am not rude or offensive.I don't bitch or back-bite.Always ready to cooperate & never prying into others' personal affairs.Then what?What could be the reason for my friend-less state?I could zero in on only one reason-i am somewhat different from those who surround me.They are not comfortable in my presence,do not enjoy chit-chatting with me & do not accept me as one of their own kind.Actually i too do not find any common interests between them & me.Perhaps this fact somehow shimmers through my behavior & they maintain a cordial distance from me.

This honest journey inside was very enlightening.I realized that somewhere i am to blame for what has been denied to me.You get the point ? If i want better results i shall have to bring about changes in my own self.Now i wanted to understand why so many of my clients felt singled out & victimized by the whole world.

A has always had this complaint against his class-fellows that they don't include him in their groups,don't befriend him.He says that he has always been a topper & that is why they are jealous of him.Actually he is inordinately proud of his intelligence.He wants his class-mates to come to him with their problems & to hero-worship him.His arrogance puts them off & they leave him alone.If only he could see through his own behavior he would have been a part of his class & not an outsider.

B feels that the world is very cruel.He has a mammoth Inferiority Complex because, according to him ,he is very dark & ugly.He also stammers.He has no friends because people give more weightage to  appearances rather than the inner qualities of a person.Actually it is he himself,who is more concerned about his looks,than his other attributes.Since he is no Adonis to look at,he thinks he is zilch.He  sees no redeeming feature in his own personality.He avoids people because he thinks that he does not deserve their friendship,or that they will make fun of him.This lack of self esteem reaches out to the friends he has; they make fun of him & call him derogatory names.He grins & bears it ,but it causes him excruciating pain.So much so that he wishes he had the courage to take his own life.He does not realize that he himself is the root cause of his problem.People see an easy target in him.There are many stammerers & ugly persons in this world.Do they all have to face such torture at the hands of their friends ? If only he stiffened his back & confronted them, they would back off.He allows people to trample all over him.No matter where he goes & whom he meets; history repeats itself.

What i want to say can best be illustrated through the following story----
A mendicant was sitting under a tree when a traveler came by.He told the "sadhu" that he was going to the next village & asked him what sort of people inhabited it.The sadhu asked him what he thought of the village he had left behind.The traveler replied that the people of that village were awful--very mean & uncooperative.That's why he had left that village for good.He wanted to know what sort of people he would meet in the next village.At this the sadhu replied that in the next village too, he would meet exactly the same kind of people as he had left behind.

"No matter where you go,there you are!"Confucious.

The message is clear.It is futile and counter productive to the blame for our travails upon others.No matter where we go,what we do & whom we meet;we take our own attitudes,beliefs,prejudices , complexes & reactions along with us.That is why we encounter the same kind of setbacks again & again.In fact such episodes are a clear indication that we have lessons to learn.It is only human nature to put the blame  somewhere else for our misfortunes.But if we are the common denominator in problems that surface time & again;then we could be the trigger here.Unless and until we iron out the wrinkles in our own personality we cannot hope for a better life.

In fact these obstacles should be viewed as opportunities for growth & evolution.It is essential to scrutinize our own attitudes,reactions and choices minutely to find out what is causing these problems.Once we realize this & take remedial measures,we will be pleasantly surprised that those disappointments no longer chase us.Therefore the next time we are exasperated by a familiar irritant, let us pause & consider if we are at fault.Is life giving us a hint that it is time to stop, analyse & modify our own behavior?Some introspection and course correction will give heartening results. 

Jalaluddin Rumi has very rightly said "Be grateful for whoever comes,because each has been sent as a guide from beyond "

Sunday, November 6, 2011


The prime goal of every living being is happiness but despite best efforts,many of us fail to achieve it.The key to this lies in the words of Tenzing Gyatso,The Dalai Lama x1v-"Happiness mainly comes from our own attitude, rather than from external factors.If your own mental attitude is correct,even if you remain in hostile atmosphere you feel happy."The role of attitude in attaining happiness is of prime significance.

Happiness can be described as"a state of well-being & contentment"or"pleasurable satisfaction".Using this parameter to gauge the level of happiness many of us will fail the test because we are seldom satisfied with where we are & what we have.No wonder, we feel restless & off-key.If we are living on rent we want our own house.When the house arrives we soon want a bigger one.Having one car is not enough,we must have at least one more--the bigger the better.Our kids must go to the priciest school.Having good clothes is not sufficient,they must be branded.So on &so forth.

We make untiring efforts to achieve all the lollies we yearn for.They give pleasure for a short while.But after that,what?The same hunt starts all over again.We are convinced that once we arrive at the next milestone we shall be completely happy.But this milestone keeps shifting farther &farther.We strive & struggle to achieve the next goal.We are convinced that this is the goal of our happiness.Is it really so?Actually it is the goal of a swanky car,a high profile job or the membership of an elite club.How can we get something for which we are making no efforts at all?Happiness comes from satisfaction, but we are disgruntled all the time.We want more & more of everything.There is no limit to our desires.As soon as we tick off one item at the head of our wish-list,a new one is added.We ourselves defer our happiness to the next acquisition.No wonder  stress & depression take over.

We need to realize that happiness does not depend upon money,status,power or material acquisitions.It goes without saying that some amount of money & basic necessities are essential for happiness.Scientific research also proves that it is only for those who live below the poverty line,that getting more money adds to their happiness.But once a decent standard of living has been attained,the accumulation of more wealth only gives momentary satisfaction.One gets used to the new acquisitions very soon.

Actually what is needed in order to be happy is-a sense of balance & gratitude.A person who is grateful will be happy at any rung of the ladder.Today we give more importance to garnering the tokens of a successful life, of having arrived;rather than enjoying the fruits of our labor & looking for joy in our surroundings.

Problems start when we compare ourselves with those who are better placed than us & we begin to compete with them.Or we want to prove to our equals that we are a cut above them.All this stress & strife is detrimental to physical & mental health.Having said this let me hasten to add that i do not advocate a supine  approach to life.But comparisons lead to dissatisfaction, jealousy & rivalry which are the anti-thesis of harmony.As we speed along the path of progress,the competition should only be with our own self rather than each & every person who is ahead of us.

Even as we try to better our own performance,it will be prudent to set realistic goals,so that the chances of failure are minimum.One more point--we cannot be happy if we find ourselves isolated & friendless.While striving for personal advancement we must take care not to sacrifice loving relationships.It is these relationships which provide help,support & advice when we are distressed.

It is our whole outlook on life which determines whether we are happy or miserable.Yes there is no dearth of precipitating factors which could push us to the depths of despair.Everyone has to face misfortune,failure,death,disease,disappointments & setbacks sometime in life.But each one of us reacts to adversity in a unique manner.This indicates that it is not the stimulus itself ,but something in us, which determines whether a situation will leave us dazed,disappointed or dejected.If we learn to control our reactions, we can be calm even in the face of misfortune.Incorporating equanimity in daily life will go a long way towards enabling us to handle difficult times in a mature & efficient manner.A person who goes overboard in good times is more likely to fall into the dungeons when good luck recedes.

While equanimity helps to conserve our sanity,flexibility helps us to glean happiness from the debris of broken dreams.Life does not run along predictable lines.When a cherished ambition is thwarted,it is prudent to change course & settle for the second best.But a mere change of course, is not sufficient to guarantee happiness.It depends upon how we do it.Just being resigned to it is not enough.It is imperative that we  shift to the new alternative whole-heartedly--giving it all we have.We need to look for advantages in the new situation & make use of them.Only then can we find happiness in the aftermath of an unwelcome change.Flexibility & positivity make a good recipe for happiness.

Embracing positivity also involves shedding negativity.Negativity thrives in emotions like hatred,jealousy,anger,fear,vengeance & remorse etc.As long as we harbor such emotions in our chest we cannot be happy.As soon as a negative emotion appears,it is best to have a positive one ready to replace it.Likewise with negative people-avoid them like the plague!

Going a step further ,geniality,empathy,friendliness,helpfulness & kindliness--all contribute to a feeling of well-being & peace of mind.Compliment someone,lend a helping hand,appreciate somebody's efforts ; & the smile you get will suffuse you with warmth.

One essential prerequisite of happiness is self-esteemIf we are not comfortable in our own skin nothing can make us happy.We can get rid of low self esteem by making an inventory of our plus points & learning them by heart.Negative self-talk is taboo, & so is magnification of one's flaws.Do not underplay your  achievements.

Happiness is a state of mind.The mind has to be conditioned to receive it .Once we have done this, an untoward event may cast it's shadow,but it will be easy to spring back & recapture our peace of mind.In the words of Sri Sarada Devi "Difficulties always come, but they do not last for ever.You will see that they pass away like water under a bridge"

The picture above has been taken from the web.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Choose to be happy

Updated on 1-6-15
I am sure, like me, you too must have come across three types of people,broadly speaking.There are those who are vibrant,ever joyous,friendly,outgoing,uncomplaining,helpful & cooperative.Then there are those who are friendly & social,though not as exuberant as the former. They are slightly reserved,but ready to mingle when tingled.Lastly,we have the third kind who smile seldom,shun company,& appear to be oppressed by many sorrows.

To an extent these differences in individual levels of happiness are justifiable.Some are born with a silver spoon in their mouths while  there are those who have to wage a bitter battle for mere survival.In between are those who have a modicum of good luck interspersed with bad times;smooth sailing interrupted by glitches & obstacles.But even the first kind have to endure their own share of sorrows & tragedies.It is a mixed bag for all of us,although the preponderance of one element may be glaringly visible in some lives.

But one fact stands head & shoulders above these variables,which is--that some people smile even through thickest clouds of sorrow,whereas at the other end we have those who look for a dark lining in silver clouds. Why do people vary so much in their attitudes,outlook and behavior?Let us suppose for example,ten persons face an identical situation.The reactions of all ten will be different in nature and intensity.

What is it that determines an individual's behavior in times of distress?His/her nature,personality and past experiences.And what molds the personality?A mixture of genes,and upbringing I would say.Well genes can't be altered any more than rearing and past can be erased.But our personality can be altered to synchronize with our life situations to grant us maximum happiness.

It is here that the question of choice comes in.There is no doubt that certain losses are hard to overcome,but the will to do so should be there.Suppose three persons lose their spouse.A, after a brief mourning, will take stock of the situation,tend to important issues which had been relegated to the background,& immerse himself in activities which will help him  forget his sorrow.B may spend some time in solitude, tell himself that he is not the first one to be hit thus & slowly return to normalcy.But C?He is likely to ask himself"Why me?"He would probably take out his memorabilia,view it again & again,shed tears,listen to soulful music,go through her belongings,shed some more tears & take refuge in a couple of drinks or maybe sleeping pills.Whereas A&B would have packed up her belongings or given them in charity,C would ruffle through them again & again & mourn his loss.

Now tell me,is it not in our hands to choose happiness over unhappiness?

Take another case-we may suddenly find that we are out of a job.Now what do we do?Should we lash out at our employer,complain about this injustice to all & sundry,moan about our bad luck,envy all those who are prospering around us,go into depression,shun company & vent our frustration in unseemly ways?Or maybe we can just go back to our boss for advice, recapitulate the circumstances that led to our dismissal,avoid those pit-falls next time,cut down our expenses forthwith,look for new ways to earn some side money till we get a job & discuss this matter with our close confidantes.Who do you think will be the happier person & more likely to land a good job after the dismissal?

Here is a true life happening which i observe every day.One chap comes to a park right in front of my home for his morning walk.He brings a pouch of bird-feed with him every day.He will first clean a ledge with a piece of cloth he keeps there.Then he will carefully spread the grains all along the ledge.After this he will take up a water container which is kept there(i suspect he only has kept it there),and water some plants,I have even seen him planting a few saplings.One day he was arranging some stones lying around to make a semblance of a seat.All this takes place alongside his exercise routine,& he is not at all ashamed to be seen tending to a public park ;as many of us would be.Now why does he take all this trouble?Obviously he is very fond of gardening but has no space for it in his own home;so he finds his fulfillment in this park.

This shows that it is not circumstances alone which bring on misery--our responses & our solutions determine whether we will be happy or woebegone.There is a difference between reacting & responding.The former may give initial satisfaction but it is crude,impulsive & damaging in the long run.On the other hand a response is well thought out,logical,fair, fruitful ,pragmatic & progressive.The former creates tensions & complications,while the latter perpetuates harmony & adjustment.

The ability to respond constructively comes in handy when we are confronted with people who-for their own selfish interests,or out of sheer malice,harm,malign or swindle us.It is difficult to pardon them,even essential to tick them off.But after that WHAT?Are we to keep our anger at boiling point & lose our tranquility & self control?It would be much more beneficial to take refuge in old wisdom.Say to yourself"As he sows,so he shall reap","Ah well,he shall meet his match one day","It takes all kinds to make the world","I should have been more cautious,but i am not going to stoop to his level".Such self-talk has a magical effect upon the turmoil going on inside.

There is no doubt that life for some, can be more stressful than others.It is all the more essential for them to think what works best for them when they are distressed.Here are some suggestions to this end--

1) First of all check your body language.Look into the mirror.Do you appear happy & confident, or aggrieved,miserable & restless?Take whatever steps are necessary to change your looks.The way you look will change the way you feel.

2) Make it a habit to utter positive statements only.Adopt gratitude instead of grumbling,appreciation instead of criticism, & acceptance instead of condemnation--whether of your own weaknesses or others'.

3)Remember this golden truth--nothing remains for ever.If the good days have receded,the bad ones too,shall pass.

4) Comparisons are odious.They give rise to jealousy & competition;both of which make us unpopular,in addition to causing heartache & discontent.A good recipe for unhappiness !!!!!

5) Happiness or unhappiness are the direct result of our moods.And what makes our moods?Our thoughts of course!If  we want to be happy we should harbor pleasant thoughts.In order to do this, let us focus upon what is good & benevolent--in our own self,in those we come across,in our society & the world in general.Erase sad memories &bring up the good ones.Envisage cheerful prospects for the future & slay all thoughts of doom & gloom.Avoid self-pity,it will only aggravate your suffering and pathos.

6) Appreciate your own talents & have faith in your abilities.Do not bother if others do not praise you or try to pull you down.Be self-reliant & self-confident.

7)Never indulge in negative self talk ,it spoils your present & ruins your future.If you committed a misdeed or a blunder,let it go,forgive yourself.Everybody has occasional lapses,that does not wash away your worth.

8)Lastly,have faith in a supreme being who tends to all of us-He shall bring about what is best for you.

To end with the words of Swami Yogananda Paramhansa--
"Since you alone are responsible for your thoughts,only you can change them.Therefore start now to think only those thoughts that bring you health & happiness."


Saturday, September 3, 2011

Fifteen danger signals which indicate a cooling of affection

A strong,sincere & abiding romantic relationship is the dream & need of every adult.Those who have the support of such a relationship can easily overcome the various pitfalls & tragedies of life because it is like a cocoon into which they escape to get succor & recoup their energies. True love boosts a person's self-esteem & self-confidence. It is like a sounding board which gives caution & advice at appropriate times. But the exigencies of modern life are tailor-made to create havoc even in such relationships. Hectic schedules & cut-throat competition lead to physical & emotional burnout ;making couples irritating,irritable & insensitive. Add to this cauldron a pinch of selfishness, a dash of ego , a handful of ambition ; & you will soon be sparring with your spouse. Despite best intentions things can go out of hand & lead to a parting of ways, even if you both regret it later on. To avoid such an outcome we should be more mindful of our behavior with our partner & be on the lookout for warning signals which indicate that we are slowly drifting apart. Given below are ten such
                                               WARNING SIGNALS
1) Either of the two often begins to come home later than usual.
2) Even when they are home together ,they spend less time in each other's company.
3) Even if they are sitting together there is little conversation between them. If one starts a conversation the other ends it abruptly. 
4) They get angry when asked a simple question about their activities or whereabouts.
5) They avoid sharing their problems with each other.
6) They begin to criticize each other over minor issues which had hitherto been acceptable.
7) There is decreased concern for the other person's comfort & happiness.Selfishness rules.
8) Rather,there is contempt for the other person's feelings & beliefs.Disrespect too is often present.
9) Often ,a spouse is the last person to know of his/her partner's future plans & ambitions.
10)  Silence reigns & even squabbles become infrequent.
11) Important issues are swept under the carpet-there is marked disinterest in solving problems.
12) They are no longer keen on going together for outings,shopping sprees or holidays etc.
13) One of them becomes extraordinarily conscious of his/her appearance;or more moody & happy than usual.
14) If one partner probes the reason for the other's moodiness s/he gets a cryptic reply.
15) Last but not the least-physical intimacy has decreased substantially. 

It is not difficult to start a marriage on a pleasant footing-everybody does it .But in order to have a long lasting,sustaining & satisfying marriage ,one has to fire on all cylinders.The first requisite is to thrash out certain issues at the outset,so that friction later on, can be avoided.However,no matter how careful one is;after a few years of togetherness the newness of a relationship wears off.There is a decrease in the urge & urgency to please,impress & remain attractive in the partner's eyes.Both begin to take each other for granted.A rut sets in.At this point, if the couple recognizes the danger signals & takes steps to bridge the chasm, the relationship can be saved. We put in a lot of energy into building our careers & maintaining a network of working relationships, but when it comes to the home & hearth we tend to become negligent. But it is at home that real happiness lies. Truly has it been said that we hurt most, those we love most. It is therefore essential that a couple nurture their relationship & maintain a healthy work-life-balance because a stitch in time saves nine.The link given above tells us how to rejuvenate our marriage.It is a beautiful piece,therefore i have written nothing to that effect.

Here is to happy bonding & a supremely happy married life !!!!!!!!!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Sid's Problem

I met Sid after a long time yesterday. Long time as in - ten years. Such an interval is not so long that a person should change beyond recognition. But frankly speaking, this is what  almost happened. Had he not taken the initiative to greet me , i might have passed him by.His visage had altered enormously. As i talked to him, i was pained to see lines of dejection & frustration on his face. He had been a topper in school & college & we all expected that he would make a brilliant career. But his whole personality screamed that our hopes, & his own , had been dashed to the ground.
As we sipped tea in a nearby cafe, he came out with all that had transpired with him till date. It was a sorry saga of dreams, plans &expectations gone awry. That night i could not sleep as i lay thinking why a bright student like him had not succeeded in his career. None could deny that he was intelligent as well as a competent &conscientious worker. Then why did he not excel in his job as we all had expected him to ?I did not need to probe him, because an avalanche of feelings came tumbling out when he saw my concern.We parted after he had had his say,but i kept ruminating over it until i was overtaken by sleep. Ultimately i zeroed in upon four of his personality traits which must have queered the pitch for him.
I think the biggest factor which thwarted Sid's progress was his rigidity. Had he been more flexible, he would have done well. He was very set in his habits & ideas. Being highly principled & proud of it ; he did not see the need to change himself to fit into the set-up he had joined. There was an undercurrent of disdain for others too, since the majority today believes in altering it's values to suit the occasion;whereas he  lived by the courage of his convictions. It is not surprising therefore, that his behavior attracted disapproval,criticism & hostility. Add to this , his habit of thinking he was always right--which he almost always was; given his knowledge & caliber. But it did not go well with the rest of the staff. So you can well imagine why he became the target of jabs & taunts from colleagues & seniors alike. 
Not only was Sid rigid, he was also a loner,possessing a stern & reserved countenance. He did not welcome friendly overtures from others, with the result that he was virtually friendless in his work-place. Had he been more outgoing, many would have appreciated his inner worth, but he did not allow this to happen. As a result he was always sidelined. This hurt him but he was not able to mend matters.
Sid was good in his job, but nil in self-promotion. He just could not brag about his achievements. In these days of cut-throat competition there is no dearth of hawks who usurp credit even if it rightfully belongs to someone else. Sid being Sid, he did not attempt to set the record straight. Thus his efforts largely went unrecognised & unrewarded.
The final catch in his personality was , his aversion to any sort of authority. Perhaps he thought himself to be more competent than his boss. Or maybe all authority figures reminded him of his father , with whom he had a precarious relationship. Whatever be the reason, he had been unsuccessful in arriving at an amicable tuning with his boss. Naturally this factor proved to be the final nail in the coffin.

All said & done, not only did he work in a hostile environment ; he also had no job satisfaction. This turmoil had been going on in my mind all through the night. By morning the picture was crystal clear. Without wasting further time, i contacted Sid & conveyed to him my analysis of the situation . We met again at the cafe where i exhorted him to -----

1) Erase this belief in his own infallibility, which to a large extent , was responsible for the chasm between him & the rest of the staff.

2) Take initiative & make friends. Till now he had his family , classmates & childhood friends to provide him emotional warmth &security. Now he was in alien surroundings & he needed to build a support system for himself. A network of friendly colleagues would not only give him mental peace but also remove the various misunderstandings & apprehensions which they had about him.

3) Open his eyes & appreciate the good points in others.

4) Trust them & confide in them whenever he needed to unburden himself . This could be done only after he was convinced of their goodwill & friendship.

5) Give help & ask for it whenever necessary.

6) Work as a team .

7) Be more vocal about his achievements.

8) Look at his boss without bias or prejudice. Relate to him positively.

9)Try to relate with his colleagues after office hours.

My suggestions were meant to help him synchronize himself with his work place,but they only touched the psychological aspects of his predicament.For more practical & mundane guidelines i referred him to this site.

Sid listened to my views very attentively. After all he too felt that he needed to rethink his strategy . Now he was looking at the whole picture in a new light.He agreed that these measures were sure to ring in positive changes. He vowed to act on them & start anew. I wished him all the luck & as we parted i could already see the clouds of gloom lifting from his countenance!!!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Insurance against Mental Disorders

I have this habit of taking a morning walk everyday. I never cease to be surprised at how, physical fitness is drawing more & more people out of their homes nowadays. We are very much aware of the various diseases which could rob us of our strength & vitality. Most of us try to follow some sort of exercise routine to keep those diseases at bay. But sadly we don't think of adopting a lifestyle which would safeguard us from mental illness .We all know that the numbers of mental patients are on the upswing, with no hope of a reversal. The causes are many & varied, but that is a topic for another discussion. Suffice it to say that today  most people are moving on a fast track,with little time, sympathy,or concern for laggards. Conditions are tailor-made for anxiety ,frustration & distress. 

We feel happy & confident while the going is good. It does not strike us that a change in circumstances could push us to the depths of despair, from where we could even slip into the clutches of a mental illness. Nobody can be said to be totally immune from these disorders. Mainly, three factors determine whether we tide over an upheaval or succumb to a psychiatric disease. One is our genetic make-up ,second is our upbringing & environment & third is the support systems that we enjoy & can lean upon.Obviously nothing can be done about our genetic proclivity,but efforts can, & should be made to insure that kids do not grow up in abusive homes,or environments.Here we are concentrating upon the third factor-i.e the efficacy of support systems in promoting mental health & keeping mental disorders at bay.

If a person who is genetically susceptible to mental disorders grows up in a caring family , & has a sound support system to turn to; he can easily overcome the challenges & frustrations of life.The preceding link amply illustrates this point.

Now take the case of someone who has no genetic susceptibility to psychiatric illness,but is reared in a strife-torn home.His growing years have been rough & stressful.He cannot relate positively to any member of his family.When such a person finds himself in the midst of a trauma,he will find it difficult to get out of it unscathed-all by himself.

Sometimes even if heredity & environment are fine;a person might be confronted by a situation where he needs advice, guidance and moral support.If this is not available he could very well cave in to his troubles.

Thus we are all at the risk of suffering from mental illnesses. But how many of us take precautions to insure that this does not happen? We do take various steps to enjoy good physical health; beginning with prophylactic inoculations,a healthy diet & various kinds of fitness regimes. But mind you, physical health becomes meaningless in the absence of mental health. In fact poor mental health itself can be the cause of many physical diseases. Thus it is essential to care for our minds as we care for our bodies. How about taking precautionary steps to boost our mental stamina, so that we do not succumb to the trials & tribulations that we may have to face in future? Here are some factors which we can incorporate in our lives in order to strengthen our shock-bearing abilities. 
There is nothing like close family ties to give us support and hope when we feel weak, when the outlook is bleak. Even if distance separates us from our blood-relations, it is essential to keep in close touch with them. Do not let minor or even major issues create a chasm between you & your family. Give them the benefit of doubt.

Even as I say this I am well aware that the vibes in some families are far from perfect. In fact a psychiatric patient might well have a schizophrenic parent from whom s/he has inherited not only his genes but also his behavior patterns. With one schizophrenic person in the house it is common to see other members becoming disgruntled,apathetic & selfish. The whole family could become dysfunctional.So naturally a member of such a family cannot expect to get the required support from home. The next best thing is to supplant the family with friends.
They say a family is thrust upon us,while friends, we choose. If family support is lacking then it is important to build up a close circle of friends. Devote time & effort to cultivate friends you can count upon. Think--tomorrow if you feel miserable whom can you depend on to cheer you up? Who will listen to your problem & show you a way out? If you don't have any such person in your circle take immediate steps to fill this vacuum. Scan your acquaintances & decide who is most likely to hold your hand when you are feeling down & out? Invite him/her over to spend time with you;share a meal together,take interest in his/her activities & give help when s/he needs it .Be the friend, you want the other person to be for you. It is essential to like your fellow-beings,trust them,& share your thoughts,feelings,time & activities with them if you want to make friends.Distrust,suspicion & a clammed up attitude keep people at bay.
It is a good idea to join a club. You will get to meet so many new individuals over there. This  will add to your sense of belonging & wellness. The activities of your club will widen your horizon & give you something to look forward to.Each new activity or the friend you make,will boost your confidence & lift your spirits.Your club members will extend help & support when you need them.

                                      HOBBY GROUP
A hobby group is one place where you are sure to meet like-minded people. Polishing your inherent talents,learning new skills & doing things in a group are all excellent tonics for mood & mind.

Religion has been a deep source of peace & tranquility to man-kind since time immemorial.Today as tensions & frustrations mount many of us take to religion & meditation to keep us grounded in reality.This endows us with a larger perspective.We become resilient enough to tolerate misfortunes without too much rancor or bitterness.Keeping in mind the law of karma also helps to mitigate stress,we can wait hopefully for better times when this bleak period abates.

Family,friends,clubs,hobby groups & religious groups-all give us external support when needed. But what about our internal resources ?These too should be augmented to prime us for stressful times.Let us take the physical aspect first.

                     EXERCISE  ROUTINE
A healthy mind can flourish best in a healthy body. A daily routine of Yoga,aerobics,gymming or walking will not only keep your body fit but also keep the feel-good chemicals like serotonin,dopamine & endorphins flowing.Yoga & pranayam are very effective in curing anxiety,depression,memory loss & various other ailments.

                  STRESS  BUSTERS
Which is your favorite stress buster ? Ever given a thought to it ? What do you usually do if you want respite from a taxing problem? You should definitely have a couple of past-times lined up to give you relief in times of stress. Reading,writing a journal,music,watching a movie,chatting with friends,going out for dinner,any out-door or indoor sport--it could be anything;but do put it to use when you feel stressed out.

                       TRAINING THE MIND
We all wish that our life should be pleasant ,satisfying & that it should run on predictable lines. Enjoy it while it is so.But the law of predictability dictates that it cannot always be thus.Difficulties will come-sometimes surmountable & sometimes not. After all, no one can expect to remain in a state of permanent bliss all through life.Intellectually all of us will agree to this, but how many of us really train our minds to be ready for such an eventuality?

It pays to remember that you are not the only one to face set-backs or a tragedy.Others have faced similar situations & emerged victorious.You too can.Keep a few things in mind. Guard against self-pity which can bog you down in depression.Train your mind to be equanimous in all situations.Don't go overboard in happy times & be patient in face of adversity.Flexibility,optimism & gratitude will see you through many upheavals if only you let them because--
" Difficulties always come but they do not last forever. You will see that they will pass away like water under a bridge."  Sri Sarada Devi.

Saturday, June 18, 2011


Break-up over here refers to the end of romance,or the cessation of an intimate relationship between two individuals who have been together for a certain length of time; long enough to have been considered a couple.It is a very painful episode for both,but much more so for the person who has been dumped.Today more & more youth & teenagers are getting caught in this predicament.Of all the jolts & upheavals that we experience in life,the anguish arising from a broken relationship is extremely severe & unsettling.The one who initiates the split is naturally better prepared to face the aftermath,but the one who has been left behind often finds it difficult to pick up the pieces & resume a normal life.It is a virtual calamity for him/her .

Well,heart-break WILL cause heartache; there is no denying it. The one in whom you deposited all your love & faith, the one who was the anchor of your emotional life, your guiding star ; suddenly decides to back out leaving you lonely & shattered. So heartache is natural. But how much & for how long ? With or without help, most are able to get over it in six months-give or take a few. But there are some who don't WANT to pick up the threads of life again.The will to forget & move on is lacking.They want their ex back,& nothing else will satisfy them.If you are one of them please read on.

Dealing with Negativity
In order to start life anew it is imperative to first get rid of all the negative emotions that are plaguing the mind.A new chapter can be written on a clean slate only.Here are a few guidelines--

1) First sit down & have a good cry. This is not a sign of weakness, God gave tears to both men & women &they serve a purpose too. This will cleanse your mind of pent-up emotions & energize you for further action.

2) Now that your mind is clearer, think--Do you still want your Ex back in your life ?Is there any chance of rapprochement ? If the answer to these questions is "yes" then go ahead & try-but only once.Strictly once! Don't go begging at his/her door time & again.While you are at it,ask him/her why s/he broke off with you so that you can avoid those pit-falls next time.

3)Do you think this breakup was the consequence of some action or inaction on your part ? Do you blame yourself ? Wish that you had behaved differently? Well this is only hindsight. At that moment,in response to the given situation, you said or did what came naturally to you. Now that you know this precipitated a crises you wish you had behaved differently.True. Had you know this would be the result you could have averted the showdown; but how often, & for how long? You behaved according to your needs & perceptions. That is your true nature. You could not have been on guard always. In a nutshell you are not at blame--both of you were on different wavelengths. So it was inevitable that you two should part. Had it been something negligible or remediable you would have patched up. The differences were deep & it is not your fault that you split up. Nip that guilt complex in the bud.

4)Coming to the role of your ex in this event--was s/he two-timing you? Was s/he domineering,selfish, inconsiderate & humiliating towards you? If the answer to these questions is "yes" then you are better off without him/ her. If however it is "no", then you probably think that s/he would have been a perfect soul-mate for you &you will never find a better partner ; which is why you want him/her back in your life. How far you are correct in your surmise only you know. But even if this is true s/he must have had his/her own reasons for backing out. Whatever, his/her motivation, or future plans; stop puzzling your mind over it. S/he thought it in his/her best interest to end the liaison & that's it. For a change look at it from his/her point of view. Give him/her the same freedom of choice which you claim for yourself. This will broaden your perspective & lessen your pain.

5) When one loses something, one tends to remember only the positive aspects--forgetting that it had some drawbacks too. Similarly you are only thinking of the happy times you spent together. This is not at all conducive for a speedy recovery. Instead, remember the times you had bitter fights & arguments.It was not all hunky dory.

6) Are you still feeling angry,confused, sad & humiliated? Your self esteem has probably never been so low as it is now.You want to lash out at someone. O.K,do it. Do it to your diary. Pour out all your anguish in it. You will feel relieved after this.

7) If this is not your style then talk to whomsoever you rely on most--whether a parent,sibling or a friend. Perhaps you want to keep it private? No problem! Seek a counselor & pour your heart out. You will get your catharsis & keep your secret too.Not only this, s/he will hold your hand (figuratively) & guide you through this labyrinth.But all your doubts; all your feelings of anger,jealousy, suspicion, regret, despair &hopelessness must be resolved before you can get on with your life. Only after these ghosts have been laid to rest; can you concentrate on your career, form new ties & find peace in your heart.

Looking For Positivity
Many a times the intellect knows what is right but the heart pulls it in the opposite direction. Likewise, you may have decided to close that chapter & start life anew but her memories keep flooding back. Here are some practical tips to keep them from distracting you--

1) Lock up all his/her gifts,delete the smses & unfriend him/her from your social networking sites. Don't sit waiting for the phone to ring, don't haunt the joints where you two used to hang out, & don't snoop on him/her. Refrain from asking common friends about your ex.

2) However these measures are not enough to keep depressing thoughts at bay. Human mind is never passive. It must think of something. Liken your mind to a guest room & those memories to an unwelcome guest. Now fill up your mind with so many new thoughts that the unwelcome guest has no space to enter. The following suggestions will help you to do this.

3) Almost everyone you meet will tell you to join a class, pursue a favorite hobby or start a fitness regime if you don't already have one. Don't take the last one lightly. Exercise is known to mitigate stress. Yoga ,breathing exercises & meditation are excellent for mental & physical health.Take up once again the activities which you used to enjoy when you were single.These activities will not only help you pass time & keep doleful thoughts at bay;but also perk you up.You will have a fixed goal in front of you,something to look forward to & excel in. But don't fall into the trap of substance abuse.

4) Indulge yourself-treat yourself to a meal you enjoy most,buy something you have always wanted to possess,have  an image makeover or give yourself a nice present as you would to a favorite person.If pleasure has been snatched from you in one area,find it in other areas.

5) Think about your own life & your future plans.This is a time for self-evolution. You  are now free to take up projects that excite you. You are your own top priority once again. You don't need to think how; what you do is going to affect someone else. No more encumbrances. Isn't it great ?You are your own king. No more criticisms or unsolicited advice.

6)Self-realization too,is called for.Analyse the whole chain of events to find out what went wrong.If you committed a blunder you now know what not to do.If the choice of your romantic partner was not suitable then that too can be avoided next time.The purpose behind this is to move to the next level,& not to nurture regrets.Life is a learning process,& every event should contribute to our growth.

7) Spend more time with your family & old friends now that you have more time on your hands. You can share your thoughts with them,even ask for help.

8) Don't listen to sad songs. Listen to soothing gentle music which will lift up your spirits.

In the end , a word of caution. Do not let this whole episode eat into your self-confidence. It is not possible to get along with everyone we come across, or take a fancy to. As intimacy develops individual differences come to the fore & friction results. Don't take it as a personal failure.It makes you no less eligible or desirable.Do not let this betrayal make you wary of the opposite sex too. Socialize,meet people &keep your options open.Take care not to go to the other extreme & latch on to someone on the rebound.Take your time & be prudent in your choice.Meanwhile have a look at this link too
Better luck next time !

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Jeete raho-"JEETERAHO"

Hi everybody. I am back after a longish hiatus.One year has passed since i started posting on this blog. How far my blog posts have helped my readers i cannot say. But they sure have helped me to evolve as an individual. They satiated my hunger to do something creative & to be of use to my fellow-beings. I have gained immense satisfaction from this activity during the past one year. 
How far i have succeeded in my mission to avert suicides & help those going through difficult times----only you all can tell. I hope you will enlighten me on this score. Let me also know how i can improve upon my efforts. Is there anything important that i am missing ? Do you disagree with my views somewhere ? Let us have a discussion on these issues.
And oh ! don't forget to wish "HAPPY BIRTHDAY " to my blog !!!

Thursday, June 2, 2011


Do you want to commit suicide ? Feel there is no charm left in life ? Are you facing a problem which is giving you sleepless nights ? Do you feel that you have lost control over your life & you can do nothing to improve the situation ? The  future seems bleak &you don't have the energy to carry on any longer ?

If the answer to these questions is yes then you have taken the first positive step by clicking this site . See ? This means you have NOT lost control over your life . You CAN think rationally & take necessary actions .All is not lost yet .It feels good doesn't it ? Now keep the good work going & read further .

At this moment you are hurting very badly .Your reservoir of pain-tolerance is full to the brim & you cannot live with it any longer .You are right ,it IS full or you would not be contemplating suicide .But what if the pain decreased . Wouldn't life be worth living again ? You probably feel this is not possible .Bear with me &read on .

The first thing to do is to lessen this pain .It can be done only if you divulge your feelings to someone so that the volcano of suppressed emotions finds an outlet .Do you know someone who will give you full attention ,respect your privacy &give you sound advice ? A relative ,a friend a teacher ,a colleague ,or a neighbour ? Perhaps you did try but didn't get proper response  .It pinches badly but consider this -may be such a situation was new for him & he did not know how to react .Your loved ones would shudder to think of you committing suicide & they might have thought that if they took it lightly or brushed it off, you would forget about it.

If acquaintances have not helped then it is time to look for professional aid which you are wisely doing .Go a step further & meet a counselor a psychiatrist or a psychologist .Today's hectic lifestyle is hard on everybody.Tensions are mounting &support systems are depleting .One who has been hit badly needs to talk to someone.Don't hesitate to reach out for help .Itdoes not indicate that you are a weakling or a failure .It happens--our plans go awry ,we face failure ,loved ones depart , relationships break , people betray & we are left hurt & disillusioned .The pain becomes too much to bear &we want to end it all .

But you didn't give in &looked for a solution .This is a very good sign.The spark is there in you yet .So what should be the next step? In case there are any doubts left, do yourself a faviour ,postpone your plan for two days .
(1) On the first day visit a counselor.

(2)On the second day sit down &think with your head rather than your heart .How best can you improve your situation ?Which steps should you take for this ?Take the first step on this very day .

(3)Get busy playing the role that is yours at the moment .Follow a normal routine & take up morning walk , yoga ,pranayam ,meditation or exercise without fail.Exercise increases the flow of feel-good chemicals like serotonin,dopamine & endorphins --the last are natural pain killers & mood elevators.Exercise also uses up the excessive stress hormones like adrenaline & cortisol.

(4)Spend time with family &friends .It will assure you that there are people who care for you.Even if you are somewhat disillusioned with them ,give them a second chance.Perhaps you misjudged them or they may be regretting their callousness towards you & this initiative will give your family ties  a new lease of life.

(5)Take up a pastime that gives you pleasure .Think what gave you pleasure before all this happened & lose yourself in it once again.Unless you try really hard you will not get out of this rut easily.

(6)Continue your liaison with your counselor /doctor .

(7)Find out how others cope in similar situations.

(8)Let the closest member of your family know that you were on the brink of suicide so that they can be on guard for you.

(9)You can mail me at .
Remember life is much larger than any misfortune,failure or emotional set-back.Time does heal.The pain will lessen and the sun will shine again in your life.If one door has closed look for other options.Don't be dogmatic about wanting only that which has been denied to you.Be flexible.Look forward,not backwards.

Do this and you will be fine !!!!!

(10)There are a few more posts on this blog which can help you, like :--

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Forgiveness For Wellness

Updated on 27th Jan 2015

#Forgiveness is the act of relinquishing grudges, bitterness & thoughts of revenge against someone who has wronged us.This is not easy because it is but natural to be aggrieved by treachery,deceit & intentional harm.Our immediate instinct is to give tit for tat & hurt the perpetrator in a similar fashion.Everything else is pushed to the background.Only the seething rage remains.This is detrimental to our health and happiness.

Ill effects of not Forgiving
*Bitterness can disassociate us from the here & now.It can divert us from more important issues and misdirect our energy.

*Harking back to the past prevents us from moving on.

*Our perspective, behavior & attitudes get distorted,which affects
  our relationships & isolates us.

*It prolongs & accentuates our pain;maybe even aggravates it.It is we,not the perpetrator who suffer more when we hold on to grudges.

*Our physical health,peace of mind and sleep are affected adversely. 

Ill Effects of Taking Revenge 
Not forgiving sometimes ends up in taking revenge.We might feel a rush of joy at having achieved our end but  the chain of events set in motion could adulterate this joy.

* What if our conscience condemns us for what we have done ?After the initial satisfaction we may even be ashamed of our behavior & regret having taken revenge? 

*The fallout could be larger & more ominous than what we had bargained for.

* We may regret having sealed the fate of a relationship?

*The various social,moral,psychological & legal repercussions 
  which follow could be disconcerting.

* An act of vengeance could lead to a prolonged spell of sparring ;with the outcome still being uncertain. 

When not to Forgive
There are instances where forgiveness can be counter-productive.In case of a major crime or injustice, it is best to take recourse to legal redress.Not standing up against gross aggression can be construed as our weakness & lead to repetition of  similar episodes. If vengeance breeds negativity then quiet surrender   damages our self esteem & social standing.

Any transgression from a close relative or someone who is in a position to harm us again cannot be ignored.Similarly someone who does not mend his ways or show any signs of remorse does not deserve forgiveness.All necessary protective measures ought to be taken in such cases.Two glaring examples come to my mind--that of marital abuse and child abuse.

Why Forgive?
 *Sometimes the feeling of being wronged or humiliated can be baseless too. There is a chance that it was not the other person's intention at all.Perhaps s/he was over stressed or overworked, & committed a mistake. Or he was simply careless & is now regretting his faux-pas. Does that entail a return-post from us? 

*When we forgive a person we are in fact protecting our own self from unseemly behavior. Looking at things from our opponent's point of view will endow us with more understanding & tolerance.

*If we find ourselves at the receiving end once too often, introspection is called for. Are we too sensitive? Do we carry a chip on our shoulder? Is our behavior brusque or insensitive? Perhaps we rub people the wrong way & they are forced to react. A frank appraisal of our own behavior will not only improve social relations but also lead to self advancement. As soon as we forgive someone we climb a step higher on the scale of personal growth.

Benefits of Forgiveness
*When we pardon an opponent we feel a sense of calmness suffuse our being. The burden of how to avenge ourselves, how to relate/respond to that person is suddenly lifted from our shoulders. We feel light & carefree once again.

*With this major obstacle out of our way, we can devote ourselves to more constructive jobs that we had put on the back-burner. Life can now advance at an even pace.

*Another significant benefit of forgiveness is, release from pain. As long as we focus on why & how, so & so abused us, we experience a lot of anguish.The perpetrator continues to monopolize our thoughts & feelings.But when we decide to pardon him, it is as if the pain dissolves , leaving behind a maturer self.

*Forgiveness acts as a safety valve on a cauldron of fury. Anger persists till we hold a grouse or consider revenge. As soon as we open our hearts to forgive & forget , anger escapes through the same route. 

*Forgiveness promotes not only emotional well-being but also physical fitness. Once our mind is cleansed of all the negativity arising from a revengeful attitude,we enjoy better health,sleep & stamina.

*Forgiveness heals relationships.

*When we talk of forgiveness,we must remember to direct it at our own selves too.We all make mistakes. Some of us are quick to pardon others' faults, but are very strict when it comes to our own. Not only faults,even our weaknesses & complexes need tender handling.All of us commit a mistake or a blunder sometimes---whether knowingly or unknowingly; and then repentance sets in .If it is pricking our conscience ,then it is better to ask that person's forgiveness, make amends & forgive ourselves.Excess remorse& flogging of self  make us melancholic.

Ultimately it is up to the aggrieved person to evaluate  whether forgiveness is beneficial or detrimental to his/her well being. According to Lewis B Smedes---" 
To forgive is to set a prisoner free and to discover that the prisoner was YOU!"
Some more thoughts on the subject at this site.